You Can’t Say That. Oh, Yes I Can!

Philadelphia Eagles Player Malcolm Jenkins uses signs, not speech, in a powerful response to President Donald Trump Link To Story The rising tide of national protest and opposition has brought forth a lot of creative humor, satire and other forms of protest. Some of that is to be found on protest signs created by fellow citizens speaking truth to power. In our new original cartoon feature  — “You Can’t Say That! Oh, Yes I Can!” — The Commoner Call will feature some of that handheld wisdom. If you see a particularly good protest sign send it along for consideration. Pass this invitation to your…


Frontline — Purdue Pharma’s Aggressive Marketing Role In The Deadly Opioid Crisis

By Patrice Taddonio Frontline (5/30/18) Purdue Pharma had information suggesting that OxyContin was being abused as early as the year after its 1996 release, but kept marketing the long-acting drug as a less addictive type of prescription opioid, according to an internal Justice Department report obtained by New York Times reporter Barry Meier. Purdue Pharma executives had previously said in testimony before Congress that the company was unaware of mounting abuse of OxyContin until 2000 — a position the company still holds, according to the Times. In 2006, federal prosecutors recommended the indictment of three individual Purdue Pharma executives on felony charges that included conspiracy to defraud…


Mike McCabe Plan Outlines Way To Fund Critically Needed Addiction & Health Care For Wisconsin

  Mike McCabe for Governor Campaign Website (3/20/18) Wisconsin governor candidate Mike McCabe today fleshed out his position in favor of fully legalizing the possession and use of marijuana by detailing a plan to tax legal sales and use the new source of revenue to fund expanded treatment options for those struggling with opioid and methamphetamine addiction and make higher education more affordable. Even before announcing his candidacy on September 12, McCabe publicly supported legalization of industrial hemp production as well as medicinal and personal use of marijuana. “Current drug laws have proven ineffective, counterproductive and racially discriminatory. Those who…


How A Ragtag Group Of Socialist Filmmakers Produced One Of The Most Viral Campaign Ads Of 2018

  [Editor’s Note: There has long been a need for a cadre of innovative video and internet tech savvy progressives to counter the big money self-serving campaign consultants that turn so many democratic campaigns into desiccated cookie-cutter hack jobs. This story shows the power of Tech + Passion = Powerful Messaging. — Mark L. Taylor] By Zaid Jilani The Intercept (6/5/18) BRONX ACTIVIST AND community organizer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is challenging longtime New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in his primary on June 26. By all measures, the former Bernie Sanders organizeris an underdog, going up against the powerful chair of the House Democratic…


Above The Law: ‘Dear Leader’ Trump’s Authoritarian Movement Is Reaching An Inevitable Conclusion

“The imperial stage of this presidency has well and truly begun.”  By Jack Holmes Esquire (6/4/18) While you were enjoying the second weekend of summer, the president and his allies were waging a sustained campaign to suggest the law does not apply to him. Things kicked off with the (probable) leak of a letter Trump’s legal team sent to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, published by The New York Times, in which we learned that Trump essentially has unlimited power and authority—you know, like a king. The letter suggested that: Trump cannot, by virtue of being president, obstruct justice. Trump can “terminate…


Watch: Facility Staff Call Police As U.S. Senator Attempts To Examine Conditions Of Detention Center For Immigrant Children

  “Children should never be ripped from their families and held in secretive detention centers.” [Editor’s Note: There is powerful symbolism in the fact that this nation has been reduced to imprisoning poor immigrant children fleeing violence in an old Walmart with blacked out windows. The image says it all of what America has become. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore) was quoted on MSNBC saying up to 1,000 children are locked up in the facility. And as the second story linked below shows, such brutality is already being turned against citizens. That is the way of tyranny. Resist … while you…


CNN’s Jake Tapper Fact Checks Trump’s Lies About The Philadelphia Eagles

  By Rebecca Shapiro CNN (6/5/18) CNN host Jake Tapper issued a strong defense of the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday and said President Donald Trump had lied and made false suggestions about the Super Bowl champions. Tapper, a huge Eagles fan and was in the stands for the team’s Super Bowl win, discussed Trump disinviting the team to the White House and canceling the celebration meant to honor the players on Monday, the day before the event. Most of the Eagles players had already said they would not visit the White House, with several citing their view that Trump seeks to divide the…


Seymour Hersh On CIA Spies, State Secrets, And The Stories He Doesn’t Tell

“The capacity to do stupid fucking things in America is just fucking scary.”  By Elon Green Columian Journalism Review (6/4/18) When a reporter has covered 50 years of American foreign policy disasters, the last great untold story may be his own. That, more or less, is the premise behind a new memoir by Seymour Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been revealing secrets and atrocities—and often secret atrocities—to great acclaim since he exposed the My Lai Massacre in 1969. Hersh’s book, economically titled Reporter, is focused on the work. “I don’t want anybody reporting about my private life,” he once said, and Hersh abides…


God Help Us: The Legislative Assault By Christian Nationalists To Reshape America & Our Lives

  By David Taylor The Guardian (6/4/18) The emboldened religious right has unleashed a wave of legislation across the United States since Donald Trump became president, as part of an organised bid to impose hardline Christian values across American society. A playbook known as Project Blitz, developed by a collection of Christian groups, has provided state politicians with a set of off-the-shelf pro-Christian “model bills”. Some legislation uses verbatim language from the “model bills’” created by a group called the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF), set up by a former Republican congressman which has a stated aim to “protect religious freedom, preserve…


Naomi Klein: 4,645 Deaths In Puerto Rico From Hurricane Maria Were “State-Sponsored Mass Killing”

  Democracy Now! (6/6/18) We look at Puerto Rico as it continues to recover from Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island last September. Researchers at Harvard recently revealed the death toll from Hurricane Maria may be a staggering 70 times higher than the official count. The official death toll still stands at 64, but the new study estimates a death toll of at least 4,645, with some projections topping 5,700. The Harvard study found that “interruption of medical care was the primary cause of sustained high mortality rates in the months after the hurricane, a finding consistent with the widely…


Trump’s MS-13 Fear Mongering Actually Empowers Deadly Gang

  By Lulu Garcia-Navarro NPR (6/3/18) David Kennedy, a criminal justice professor at John Jay College, tells NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro what we know about the international criminal gang MS-13 compared with President Trump’s statements. This past week at a rally in Nashville, President Trump returned to one of his favorite themes, the dangers of MS-13. And the crowd was ready for it – chanting a word the president has used to describe the street gang. … Read the Rest, Transcript and 3+-Minute Audio  


First Thing To Understand About Our Opioid Crisis: The Problem Is NOT The Drug

Inflict enough institutionalized pain and degradation on society and the escape provided by drugs has a certain short-term logic. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/7/18) The linked National Public Radio report below on the entrenched and growing plague of opioid and methamphetamine addiction in Vinton County, Ohio is a perfect example of the fundamental and stubborn resistance of the nation to truly consider what the deepening national tragedy of dangerous substance abuse is really about. As a mental health and substance abuse counselor for 24 years one thing I know is that the drug is never the problem….


A Refreshingly Honest Government Ad — Enjoy The Benefits Of Trickledown Economics

“When we let the rich piss on you and we tell you it’s raining.” The Australien Government has made an ad about the budget and Trickledown Economics – and its surprisingly honest and informative. Link to 2-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


Investigative Report: Baltimore Cops On A Crime Spree

  The Center For Investigative Reporting (6/2/18) Baltimore’s police department was already notorious. But this year, eight former police officers were convicted on federal racketeering charges stemming from an FBI investigation. They belonged to an elite task force charged with getting guns off the city’s streets. Instead, the plainclothes cops roamed Baltimore neighborhoods at will, robbing people on the street, breaking into homes to steal money, drugs or guns and planting evidence on their victims. The targets of the Gun Trace Task Force included drug dealers and ordinary citizens. One of its favorite tactics was to speed toward a group…


Strong Progressive Candidates Taking On Big Money Democratic Party Establishment

  The Resistance “The bad news for democrats is that they may well come out of this election doing well on a case-by-case basis but not really resolving their identity crisis.” — Alexander Burns, NY Times The Daily (6/1/18) Alarm over the election of Donald Trump spurred dozens of first-time candidates to run for Congress. Some of those candidates now present a problem for the Democratic Party. Guests: Mai Khanh Tran, a Democratic candidate running for the United States House in California; Alexander Burns, who covers national politics for The New York Times. Link to 26-Minute Audio ***** New York…


Meet The Radical Economist Behind The One Percent’s Quiet Takeover Of America

 Stealth and deliberate deception. By Lynn Parramore Institute For Economic Thinking (5/30/18) Ask people to name the key minds that have shaped America’s burst of radical right-wing attacks on working conditions, consumer rights and public services, and they will typically mention figures like free market-champion Milton Friedman, libertarian guru Ayn Rand, and laissez-faire economists Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many…


Ralph Nader NAILS Why Democrats Lose To Republicans

“Democratic Party, stop scapegoating and look in the mirror.” (Editor’s Note: Until the democrats get this message and get behind a genuine program to enact it, we are tied to the GOP sinking garbage scow. — Mark L. Taylor) The Humanist Report (5/20/18) Ralph Nader had some harsh words for the Democratic Party and spoke about how they should be “landsliding” Republicans. Link to 8-Minute Video


Writer Documents The Political & Corporate Pushers Behind America’s Deadly Opioid Epidemic

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/4/18) As a psychotherapist and substance abuse counselor I found the Democracy Now! Friday (6/1/18) broadcast to be one of the best all-in-one package of information on the government-enabled, corporate manipulated opioid epidemic that has claimed some 200,000 Americans and continues to kill and decimate families and communities every day across the nation. If you want a good understanding about the dirty political and economic underpinnings that continues to fuel the crisis take an hour to watch the entire broadcast here. The individual segments are detailed and linked below: Purdue Pharma Knew…


Nigeria’s Tramadol Crisis: The Drug Fueling Death, Despair & Terror Group Boko Haram

“What else can we do? We just want to get out of the world.” BBC (6/1/18) When Mustafa Kolo, 23, takes the bright red pills he feels like he can push a tree. It’s like his body isn’t his. They obliterate the negative thoughts. “When I take it, I forget everything,” he says. It’s 10:00, Mr Kolo and his friend Modu Mohamed are with their boss, the commander of a vigilante unit set up to protect the city of Maiduguri from Boko Haram. The young recruits are clearly uncomfortable. ‘People have lost everything’ “How many did you take today?” I…


While Congress Enables & Protects Shooters, AMA Considers ‘Unprecedented’ Gun Reforms

  By Bruce Japsen Forbes (5/27/18) Physician members of the American Medical Association are pushing the nation’s largest doctor group to back an “unprecedented” number of measures designed to curb gun violence and coax Congress into action. Early next month, the AMA’s policy-making House of Delegates will consider nearly a dozen proposals on gun control and public safetymeasures in the wake of 28 school shootings this year alone including last week’s at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana. Action at the AMA meeting, which runs June 9-13 in Chicago, will put the group’s considerable lobbying clout behind legislation heading into November’s…


Russia Monitor: The Legal Contortions Of ‘Howdy Rudy’ And The Constitutional Crisis Already In Motion

  “In Jan 2017, I gave a Putin’s Wish List” to explain what he most wanted from Trump. Lifting sanctions was #1, but Flynn got caught & blew it up. A trade war with NATO allies was #2.” — Russian dissident Garry Kasparov tweet (6/1/18).   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/4/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump and his lawyer, Giuliani, set out each day to convince us of two things: Trump has now advanced beyond no collusion with Russia, to; Clinton and Democrats colluding with Russia. In complete absence of evidence, Trump tweets: “There was No Collusion with Russia…


Carnac The President Caught In On-Camera Bald-Faced Lie, But, Hey, So What!

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/4/18) Last Friday Donald Trump prattled on about receiving a “very nice” and “very interesting” letter earlier in the day from North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. The letter was hand-delivered to the president by senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol. The White HOuse issued photos of Trump and Kim Yong Chol with a Trumpian scale envelope. Trump teased the journalists at a press conference, noting, “Oh, would you like to see what was in that letter? How much? How much?” When asked if Trump could share a sense of the letter’s contents Trump replied, “It…


Truly Orwellian: Abusive Secret Federal Prisons You’ve Never Heard Of Before Are Designed To Silence Political Dissent

  Environmental activists included in the count. TED Talk (11/9/15) Investigative journalist Will Potter is the only reporter who has been inside a Communications Management Unit, or CMU, within a US prison. These units were opened secretly, and radically alter how prisoners are treated — even preventing them from hugging their children. Potter, a TED Fellow, shows us who is imprisoned here, and how the government is trying to keep them hidden. “The message was clear,” he says. “Don’t talk about this place.” Link to 15-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. taylor, 2018. Open source and free for…


Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh’s Memoir Is Full Of Useful Reporting Secrets & Lessons For Citizens

  By Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone (5/1/18) Late in his new memoir, Reporter, muckraking legend Seymour Hersh recounts an episode from a story he wrote for the New Yorker in 1999, about the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. Bill Clinton was believed to be preparing a pardon for Pollard. This infuriated the rank and file of the intelligence community, who now wanted the press to know just what Pollard had stolen and why letting him free would be, in their eyes, an outrage. “Soon after I began asking questions,” Hersh writes, “I was invited by a senior intelligence official to come have a chat at…


Our Wisconsin Revolution State Convention — June 22–24

The Our Wisconsin Revolution Convention is right around the corner. Don’t forget to register, as soon as possible, as we need an accurate count for food and lodging. All meals are included with your ticket purchase! Great rooms are available on the campus for a really reasonable price. And here are some fun tidbits to get you excited about the weekend: FRIDAY JUNE 22nd Registration will open at 4 pm There will be an all group welcome at 5:30 pm We will have a Candidate Unforum (time to talk directly with candidates about what is important to you and have FUN!) over heavy…


A Commoner Writes — Mike McCabe Gives Rousing Progressive Rallying Call To State Democrats

  For all of us who have ever been interested in Mike McCabe’s concern for the health of democracy in our State of Wisconsin, I can say that I heard the best speech I have ever heard him offer this past Friday as I sat in the assembly of the Wisconsin Democratic Convention in Oshkosh. He was given 5 minutes to speak, and he used 4 minutes and 57 seconds to deliver these 700 words. I believe that they are a powerful distillation of Mike’s 20-plus years of political activism and his decades of dreaming for a better and healthier…


Trump’s Leverage: Study Links White American Intolerance With Support For Authoritarianism

  By Noah Berlatsky NBC News (5/27/18) Since the founding of the United States, politicians and pundits have warned that partisanship is a danger to democracy. George Washington, in his Farewell Address, worried that political parties, or factions, could “allow cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men” to rise to power and subvert democracy. More recently, many political observers are concerned that increasing political polarization on left and right makes compromise impossible, and leads to the destruction of democratic norms and institutions. A new study, however, suggests that the main threat to our democracy may not be the hardening of political ideology, but rather…


One Last Memorial Day Musing: The Pawns Of War

  By Philip Farruggio Nation of Change (5/28/18) She would always have the brightest smile as she stood at the intersection of Avenue T and Ocean Ave in Brooklyn, N.Y. circa 1968. She was our crossing guard and we all loved Mrs. Lombardo. Each morning and afternoon during school days she would greet each and every kid who passed by her post. On Sundays, before and after each Catholic Mass at St. Edmunds church, she would be there, again with that contagious smile. The young kids loved her as one would love a favorite aunt, and the seniors, who seemed to make…


Lost Children Of The Holocaust: A Cautionary Tale Of Tragedy For Today’s America

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/31/18) Recent stories about the forced separation of migrant children from their parents and systematic abuse at the paws of the US Border Patrol have been alarming. This practice and abuse began with the Obama administration and is now ramped up by Trump. Such state-sponsored terror tactics are common in authoritarian regimes. Under the Pinochet regime in Chile the children of murdered activists and labor organizers were handed over to the families of police and government officials to be raised as their own. The same thing — and much worse — happened…


American Far Right Propaganda & Imagery Draws From German Nazis

By Michael Tymkiw The Conversation (5/29/18) For many people, events such as the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, with its torchlight parade, eagle-emblazoned shields and Nazi flags, bring with them uncomfortable reminders of fascist visual culture from the 1920s to 1945. While individuals and organisations associated with the far right have long appropriated elements from fascist visual culture, the sheer brazenness with which symbols and images were appropriated in Charlottesville, the ensuing violence and the proliferation of photographs and videos depicting these events made the spectre of fascism seem disconcertingly close. If we wish to understand how the far right…


WATCH YOUR MOUTH! You May Hate Him, But Here Is How You Help Trump Every Day

  By George Lakoff George Lakoff Blog (12/16/18) Without knowing it, many Democrats, progressives and members of the news media help Donald Trump every day. The way they help him is simple: they spread his message. Think about it: every time Trump issues a mean tweet or utters a shocking statement, millions of people begin to obsess over his words. Reporters make it the top headline. Cable TV panels talk about it for hours. Horrified Democrats and progressives share the stories online, making sure to repeat the nastiest statements in order to refute them. While this response is understandable, it…



Russia Monitor: Tapes? Could There Really Be Tapes? Trump Lawyer May Provide Accidental Public Service

“Trump is like a magician pulling one gaudy illusion after another out of his hat, pockets and possibly bodily orifices.” By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/31/18) Dear Fellow Readers, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” — Former FBI Director James Comey, June 2017 Senate Intelligence hearing.  And so there may be. We’ll take a look at: Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s status. Trump’s ever-evolving Trump-Russia corruption self defense. What works for Trump… Let’s start with Cohen: Michael Avenatti Says Trump’s Voice Is On Cohen Tapes That Are Unprivileged: ‘This whole thing appears to stink’ Yes, there are tapes – apparently. Early headlines,…


Carrying On The Work Of Historian Howard Zinn: Labor History Workshops For Educators

  Zinn Education Project (5/28/18) In the midst of an unprecedented wave of teacher walkouts and strikes — in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, Kentucky, and North Carolina — the Washington Education Association invited the Zinn Education Project to offer a labor history workshop for WEA members in Southwest Washington. “The Power in Our Hands: Integrating Labor History into Our Curriculum” was held on Saturday, May 19, 2018. High school teacher and Rethinking Schoolscontributor Ursula Wolfe-Rocca facilitated the workshop for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. She engaged attendees in role plays about local labor history (“The 1934 West Coast  Longshore…


Amid Growing Grassroots Push, ‘Medicare For All’ Winning Big in Democratic Primaries

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (5/29/18) With Medicare for All reaching record levels of support among both members of Congress and the American public—where support for single-payer is spreading “like wildfire”—policy platforms demanding that the U.S. ditch its wasteful and deeply immoral for-profit system in favor of guaranteed healthcare for every American are also proving to be winners in Democratic primary fights across the country. In red and blue states alike, candidates backing Medicare for All have emerged victorious in Democratic primary battles where, in some cases, their opponents had the backing of the party establishment. “In Nebraska’s 2nd district, Kara Eastman, who supports ‘Medicare for…


‘Dark and Disturbing’ DOJ Report Shows Big Pharma Knew Of Deadly Opioid Abuse After Releasing Popular Painkiller

By Julia Conley Common Dreams (5/29/18) As lawsuits mount against the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma over its knowledge that one of its best-selling drugs was addictive and dangerous, a newly- uncovered Justice Department report shows that the multi-billion dollar corporation also knew that patients were abusing OxyContin shortly after the drug’s release. Almost immediately after releasing OxyContin in 1996, Purdue Pharma received reports that patients were crushing and snorting the drug and stealing it from pharmacies, and that some doctors were beginning to sell prescriptions for the highly addictive painkiller, which is chemically similar to heroin. According to the New York…


Along With The Rest Of Corporate America, Harley-Davidson Happily SCREWS Their Workers

Proves the lies of Paul Ryan. The Young Turks (5/22/18) Trump and his fellow republicans believe that giving massive corporations tax cuts will turn into more jobs for the American people. Turns out that’s not how it works! Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, host of The Young Turks, break it down. “In September 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan traveled to a Harley-Davidson plant in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, to tout the Republican tax bill, which President Trump would sign later that year. “Tax reform can put American manufacturers and American companies like Harley-Davidson on a much better footing to compete in…


What Is Democracy? — Can We Truly Become Exceptional?

“In the darkest days of the Second World War, when America’s very future was at risk, writer E.B. White was asked by the U.S. Federal Government’s Writers’ War Board to write a short response to the question “What is democracy?” His answer was unassuming but inspiring. He wrote: “Surely the Board knows what democracy is. it is the line that forms on the right. It is the “don’t” in don’t shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; it is the dent in the high hat. Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more…


In Our Name: Agency Documents Reveal Physical & Sexual Abuse Of Migrant Kids, Teens By Border Patrol

The authoritarian, fascist mind: ”Just following orders”.   By Gabe Ortiz Daily Kos (5/24/18) Internal government documents dating back to 2009 and obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago School of Law, detail horror stories of child abuse, physical and sexual assault, verbal abuse and medical negligence at the hands of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. The details should be a national security concern, because border agents were already “monstrous” under Barack Obama, and under Donald Trump they have been unleashed and stand to endanger untold numbers: “In one…


A Graduation Message Appropriate To The National Challenge Of This Memorial Day

  By John Whitehead Rutherford Institute (5/21/18) “When the rivers and air are polluted, when families and nations are at war, when homeless wanderers fill the highways, these are the traditional signs of a dark age.” — Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times Those coming of age today will face some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by young people. They will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be the subjects of…